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Monday, April 9 • 2:15pm - 2:30pm
SYMPOSIA-01: Historical Extirpations in Chicago Area Wetlands and Water Bodies

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AUTHORS: Roy Plotnick, Anthony Bellagamba, Stephanie Chancellor, Alister Cunje, Emily Dodd, Kerri Gefeke, Shannon Hsieh, M. Joseph Pasterski, Alec Schassburger, Alexis Smith, Wesley Tucker – University of Illinois at Chicago

ABSTRACT: Prior to European settlement, wetlands, lakes, and streams were the major topographic feature of the Chicago region. Much of this have been altered or lost in the past one-hundred-and-fifty years. In 1848 a canal was dug across the portage between the Great Lakes and Mississippi basins and in 1900 the Chicago River was reversed to connect it to the Mississippi drainage. We have examined the changes in wetland, riparian, and lacustrine environments and fauna in Cook County since the time of the river reversal, using 1890-1910 and 1997-2017 as our focus intervals. Historical topographic maps were imported into a GIS database and locations and extents of lakes, ponds, swamps, marshes and river features were digitized. These were compared with the modern USGS National Hydrography Dataset. Overall, the total area of wetlands and water bodies has decreased by about a third, while swamps and marshes have been drained or converted into lakes or rivers. Historical and modern spatial data on animals considered obligate on wetlands, lakes, and rivers were collected from digitized museum collections, in particular that of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, and various natural history surveys of the region. Target groups included mammals, birds, mollusks, fish, amphibians, and reptiles. We included invasive and reintroduced species. Beavers have been reintroduced after extirpation in the 1850’s. Of 55 fish species in the historic data, 24 are no longer present; about 50% of the remaining species have undergone range reductions. Fifty-three of 78 historic molluscan species are not recently recorded, however there are 26 current species not recorded in the historical data, including 6 considered invasive. Three out of 10 species of reptiles have disappeared. Among the birds, of 122 species detected in the 1890-1910 period, 13 were extirpated from Cook County or are extinct.

Monday April 9, 2018 2:15pm - 2:30pm CDT
Hancock Parlor

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